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DNR finds pit bulls tied to trees

DNR: Appears dogs being trained for fighting

This pit bull was one of six dogs chained to trees discovered by Cpl. Eric Sanders with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources when he was patrolling land Tuesday on Flat Shoals Road. He found as many as 40 50-pound bags of dog food strewn around and large buckets of water. It appeared that the dogs were being trained for fighting. The pit bulls were turned over to Rockdale Animal Control. (Special photo)

This pit bull was one of six dogs chained to trees discovered by Cpl. Eric Sanders with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources when he was patrolling land Tuesday on Flat Shoals Road. He found as many as 40 50-pound bags of dog food strewn around and large buckets of water. It appeared that the dogs were being trained for fighting. The pit bulls were turned over to Rockdale Animal Control. (Special photo)

CONYERS — Six pit bulls have been taken to Rockdale County Animal Control after a Georgia Department of Natural Resources officer found the dogs tied to trees in a wooded area off Flat Shoals Road.

Cpl. Eric Sanders said he was checking a piece of private property across from Flat Shoals Elementary School Tuesday morning when he found a bag of dog food and two large water bottles on the ground.

At first, he said, he thought someone living on the property had a dog, but when he checked the rest of the land and abandoned house, he didn’t see any dogs.

Walking back toward his truck, Sanders said he noticed a dog house near the woods and as he got closer, he saw six grown but malnourished dogs chained to trees. He also found around 40 50-pound dog food bags strewn around the area, along with a couple of large water containers like the type commonly used in offices. The only shelter the animals had were a couple of plastic igloo-style dog houses and a large barrel with a hole cut in one end.

Sanders said he also found a fresh grave where a dog was recently buried nearby.

Sanders said it appeared that someone was taking care of the dogs because he found evidence that they had been given ringworm and heartworm medication.

“I think I spooked the people who brought them there because it appeared they had just dropped the dog food and water off because there was no moisture on it,” Sanders said.

While the dogs were “very friendly,” he said it appeared they were being trained for fighting. Sanders said there were scars on the dogs’ faces but their ears had not been torn up. He also found a bottle of iron supplements, which are commonly given to animals to give them more energy.

Sanders contacted the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office and Rockdale Animal Control, who responded to the scene.

Ciji Baker, who is the shelter manager with Rockdale Animal Control, said animals are typically held for 72 hours to give the owner time to reclaim them, but these dogs may be held for a little longer. He said the shelter does not adopt pit bulls out to the public, but it does work with a couple of rescue groups that might be able to help them.